What to Expect from the January 2013 BOE and ECB Rate Decisions

Now that we’ve put the U.S. NFP results behind us, we can shift our focus back on another sore spot in the global economy – Europe!

Tomorrow, the Bank of England (BOE) and European Central Bank (ECB) are set to hold their first interest rate decisions of the year. Let me fill you in on what to expect!

Bank of England – Rate decision at 12:00 pm GMT

According to most economists, the BOE will likely keep its official bank rate at 0.50% and leave asset purchases unchanged at 375 billion GBP.

I’m sure you’re all aware that the U.K. economy has been far from impressive lately, but it hasn’t all been bad news, which makes me think that the BOE will play the wait-and-see game this January.

It’s said that the U.K. risks falling into its third recession in the last four years, but the manufacturing industry showed surprising resilience last month, expanding at its fastest pace since September 2011. Furthermore, the MPC seems to be optimistic about its Funding for Lending program judging by its last meeting minutes, so it’ll probably give it more time to work its magic.

European Central Bank – Rate decision at 12:45 pm GMT, press conference at 1:30 pm GMT

Market junkies aren’t holding their breaths for the ECB to announce any changes to its monetary policy either. The consensus is for the bank to keep the interest rate steady at 0.75%. However, that doesn’t mean that the rate decision will be a snoozer!

Everyone will keep an ear out for what European central bankers have to say about the economy. Like the U.K., recent data from the euro zone has been mixed, but mostly downbeat. Manufacturing and services PMIs from the region showed contractions for December and have led many to believe that the recession in the euro zone might have deepened in the last quarter of 2012.

Though it will be pretty interesting to hear ECB head honcho Mario Draghi‘s economic outlook, majority believe that the bank will remain on hold for now. After all, there seems to be no urgent need for a rate cut. The OMT program has brought relief to the markets, bond yields are significantly below unsustainable levels, and we’ve been seeing signs of stability from Germany and France recently.

There you have it, the lowdown on the BOE’s and ECB’s first rate decisions for the year. Which do you think will have a bigger impact on their respective currencies? Which one will you trade?

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